Tree bank loan amount rises

Tree bank loan amount rises

Goal is plantation of high-value saplings

A variety of lucrative trees including teak and makha wood are seen at Mae Wong National Park in Nakhon Sawan. THANARAK KHOONTON
A variety of lucrative trees including teak and makha wood are seen at Mae Wong National Park in Nakhon Sawan. THANARAK KHOONTON

The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has raised the maximum loan amount under its tree bank scheme to 80% of collateral value from 50% to attract more people to grow high-value trees.

Members of its tree bank programme can apply for loans of up to 80% of the collateral value for both the land and high-value trees, said BAAC president Apirom Sukprasert. Those who use only land are entitled to loans of 50% of collateral value.

Some 6,000 communities with 150,000 farmers growing over 11 million trees are members of the tree bank scheme.

High-value trees that can be used as collateral to back the loan include teak and Siamese and Burmese rosewood.

If they are used as collateral, borrowers are not allowed to cut them down throughout the loan term, Mr Apirom said.

The cabinet in July endorsed the Commerce Ministry's regulation to allow the use of 58 varieties of high-value trees such as teak and Siamese and Burmese rosewood as collateral under the Secured Transactions Act. The new regulation is aimed at encouraging people to grow more high-value trees on their land for income.

Mr Apirom said the BAAC can permit tree bank borrowers to use high-value trees as collateral without waiting for the enforcement of the ministerial regulation, which is scheduled to be deliberated soon by the National Legislative Assembly.

In another development, the BAAC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Thailand Research Fund to use research and innovation in strengthening the grassroots economy.

The sufficiency economy philosophy will be considered in this research and innovation, Mr Apirom said.

The BAAC plans to pick communities to develop as prototypes with 30 learning centres in adopting research to help build communities, he said, with 600 communities in the initial stage.

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